How to remove pre installed thermal compound?

How to remove thermal compound from a CPU fan? I have better paste of my own.

Coffee filters for a lint free wiping tool, and isopropyl alcohol to remove any residue.

90% isopropyl alcohol and a microfibre cloth. Paper towel can work but you may end up having to pick little paper fibres off your chip or heatsink though.

Also know some people use Q-tips though i'd be hesitant since i know how easily cotton balls come apart

Use anything you like to wipe it off TIM, makes no difference at all- toilet paper, paper towel, cloth or microfibre.  Just use alcohol as previously mentioned to clean up after.

I use lots of paper towel, and 91% alcohol.

that's how you do it, but it's really pointless, almost all of the thermal compound on the market performs within about 3 degrees of difference

for the lols...